Dar es Salaam. An inquest has opened in the UK into the death of a British citizen who died during a plane accident involving flight PW-494, property of Precision Air, which crashed at Lake Victoria in Bukoba on November 7, 2022, killing 19 people.
Jonathan Rose, a resident of Woodbridge, a port town in the East Suffolk district of Suffolk, England, was one of 39 people (38 adults and one infant) on board the 5H-PWF ATR42-500 aircraft, which was flying from Dar es Salaam to Bukoba when it crashed around 08:53 AM.
The 46-year-old Rose, a married father of three, was the only British national on board the flight. On November 14, 2023, presiding coroner Darren Stewart heard a pre-inquest review hearing at Ipswich Coroner’s Court, Yahoo! News reported.
Also present in court were legal representatives for Mr Rose’s family. The court heard that a final report from the Tanzanian authorities was being written but that this was expected “soon,” the publication reported.
Mr Rose’s cause of death has not yet been established.
Mr Stewart said that he believed it would not be necessary for a jury to be called to sit on Mr Rose’s inquest. However, expert witnesses may be called to help explain the technical difficulties the plane encountered.
Another pre-inquest review hearing will take place in six months when it is hoped the report from the Tanzanian authorities will be complete.
An inquest is a legal term which refers to a judicial inquiry by a group of persons appointed by a court. The most common type is the inquest set up to investigate a death occasioned by unnatural means.
Witnesses are examined, and a special jury returns a verdict on the cause of death. In England, inquests are also required when there is loss or injury in a fire. The inquest is confined to common-law jurisdictions that have a coroner system.
On November 22, 2022, the Air Accident Investigation Branch of the then-Ministry of Works and Transport released a report that blamed the deaths of the passengers aboard the flight on the failure of the first responders to act timely.
The report, which authorities tried to distance themselves from earlier but then endorsed, also noted that official search operations after the accident were delayed, and rescuers who arrived at the scene were ill-equipped.
According to the report, a fire station in Bukoba was equipped with one fire engine and manned by ten firefighters trained to carry out rescue operations on land.
The firefighters were not equipped for offshore operations, which were required after the plane crashed into the lake.
The police marine unit was notified 15 minutes after the crash but arrived at the scene five hours later as its sole rescue boat was elsewhere on patrol when the accident occurred, the report revealed.
The boat arrived at the scene at 1.49 PM, but divers could not immediately launch a search and rescue operation because they lacked oxygen, and the vessel did not have enough fuel.
The report’s findings fueled demands for accountability from major opposition parties in Tanzania – CHADEMA and ACT-Wazalendo – which joined other pressure groups in calling for accountability for the alleged failure to respond to the disaster timely.
The death of the nineteen people aboard the plane reminded people of past disasters that the government failed to respond to on time, causing severe loss of lives and properties.
The most recent of these disasters include the capsizing of MV Nyerere in Lake Victoria on September 20, 2018, killing an estimated number of 100 passengers aboard the ferry, which was thought to have carried about 400 passengers, twice its capacity.